‘It doesn’t have a Shape, it has a Shadow’: TC McCormack and Michelle Atherton open new exhibition in Berlin – Friday 29 March 2019

TC McCormack (2019) - for McCormack & Atherton exhibition in Berlin

It doesn’t have a Shape, it has a Shadow

Michelle Atherton, Jette Gejl, TC McCormack

Most stories have a shape to them, well this story doesn’t have any shape, but it does have a shadow. We could try to describe the shadow (of it), but by the time we get to the end… the sun will have shifted position and the dimensions of the story’s shadow will be a geometric perversion of what they were at the start.

‘The biologist Stuart Kauffman speaks of what he calls the adjacent possible. This consists of “all those [entities] that are not members of the actual, but are one reaction step away from the actual.” Something is adjacently possible if it can be actualised in a single step: like a point mutation, or a chemical reaction leading to a new configuration of matter. … Steven Johnson, amplifying Kauffman’s idea, describes the adjacent possible as “a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself…. What the adjacent possible tells us is that at any moment the world is capable of extraordinary change, but only certain changes can happen.’1

This exhibition is conceived as a site of excavation. Michelle Atherton, Jette Gejl and TC McCormack have assembled a group of material gestures and phenomena that draw on our past imperfect to speculatively reach into a shadow future.

1. Unpredicting the Future (2018), by Steven Shaviro

It doesn’t have a Shape, it has a Shadow
Spor Klübü 
Freienwalder Str. 31, 13359 Berlin
Opening Friday 29 March, 7PM
Saturday 30 March – Sunday 31 March 2019, 12PM – 6PM
Also open Monday 01 April – Friday 12 April by appointment

Michelle Atherton
Backdrop: The Repository of Irrational Gestures (RIG’s) ♯ IIII
A looped video work with printed backdrop and lights.
Situated in a landscape, a blow-up of a C16 engraving intermittently illuminated by coloured lights, RIG’s ♯ IIII brings together a new dissonant sequence of irrational gestures that evolve and are clashed together over the duration of the video. If we can agree that the irrational describes those actions, thinking and behaviours that appear to be more illogical than other alternatives; then, the artwork opens up a space to consider past and present conceptualisations of irrationality.
With contributions from Anita Delaney, Jessica Harrington, Dr Wendy Leeks and Lucy Lound.

Jette Gejl
I like beige and beige likes me
This work offers a reinterpretation of Joseph Beuys piece ‘I like America and America likes me’ and seeks, from an idiosyncratic angle, to heal the collective hysteria surrounding the encounter with the unknown. The work consists of the VR work ‘Beige Space’ which shall be experienced using a head mounted display, a poster with DNA mapping of the two wolf species ‘Canis Latrans – Canis Lupus’, a plinth with the calcareous clay ‘Mergel’ and a text.

TC McCormack
All our Ships are at Sea
A looped audio work, with video diptych, a mural pattern, suspended fabric prints and set of images.
At its centre, this assemblage features a spoken text, were voices speak of a divergent fragmentation, a dissembling and of displacement. Likewise the visual language alludes to an ungraspable slippage of content. The imagery adapts evasive optical registers, drawn from a stealth technology and topological features. Foregrounding the spatial qualities of patterned surface with the temporal conditions of sound, enables a move away from more conventional narrative structures to explore a more immersive and intimate environment.


Michelle Atherton is an artist working with images and temporal states, that is researching particular moments or sets of conditions in our collective histories. The aim of the work is to probe these entanglements and the complexities that surround us. All her work is image-based, holding a long-standing fascination with the fact that images appear to be all front. Part of the research investigates the potency of the image in its rhetorical and ambiguous forms; and our encounters with it. The work often incorporates video, photography, sound, collage and writing. The work cultivates a type of image-dissonance, through a series of after or pre-images. Her artwork and research has been supported by the Arts Council UK and the Arts and Humanities Research Council and shown throughout Europe in variety of contexts including galleries and museums, festivals, and conferences, and via publication.

Jette Gejl is a visual artist and academic at Aarhus University, Denmark. Her work balances between a deep idiosyncratic self-reflection and an understanding of the collectives socio-historical culture-bearing icons – such as memory. She often seeks more criticality in dialogue with the viewer, which often involves them entering into performative or participation with her work. Recent exhibitions include: Fregatten Jylland vs Ks. Jylland, Ebeltoft 2019, All Shadow Shines, Udsmykning Niels Bohr Institut, 2018. Interwoven Landscapes vol. 2, Ks. Jylland, Jens Søndergaard Museum, Heltborg, 2018. As Much about Forgetting, Viborg Kunsthal. 2018. Interwoven Landscapes vol. 2, Den Gyldne, Rundetårnet, Kbh.2018. THEY ARE STICKY, PERHAPS YOU CAN SAY MAGNETIC, KunstRaum, Linz, Austria 2018. ART BY NUMBERS, Sydhavnsgade 7, Aarhus, 2016. There Is Something Rotten in The State of Denmark, Galleri Grundstof, Denmark, 2016.

TC McCormack is an artist who’s central preoccupation has always been with how we navigate the space between the legacy of modernism and the reach of contemporaneous media. He makes work that explores the aesthetics of cultural memory and considers various phenomena of resistance space. His work is primarily based in film and installation, yet also spans collage, photography and text. This cross disciplinary approach enables him to inhabit a number of artistic, curatorial and research strategies. His research involves searching through archives and speculative contexts, in the social sphere, architecture, film history, sculpture, technology, museology and urban planning. TC has exhibited widely internationally and the UK, his work is commissioned by arts institutions and galleries.

Photograph copyright TC McCormack (2019)